Swords and sandals are a go-to genre for manly movies. In the old days especially. I mean who can forget Ray Harryhausen’s masterful stop motion work in the likes of Clash of the Titans (1981) or Jason and the Argonauts (1963)? Films like that elicited a sense of wonder and we would marvel at the alpha figures kicking ass. But Gods of Egypt only invokes a sense of despair and a sense of frustration. They paid $140,000,000 to make this turd? I don’t believe it.
The film is set in pre-historical Egypt, where He-Men Gods rule over underling humans, but live side by side in a period of prosperity. Gods are distinguished from humans by being about 125% larger in physical form, brought about by CGI (oh, lots and lots of CGI), an attempt to instil a sense of awe, but more often than not only being mildly funny. As good guy God Nikolaj Coster-Waldau prepares to assume the throne as new leader of Egypt, bad guy God Gerard Butler tears his eyeballs out, enacts a coup and begins his own reign of terror. Like the Saddam of ancient times. From there, Coster-Waldau enlists the help of effete Brenton Thwaites, a lowly pissant peasant, to set things right.
The worst thing about this film is that it looks so fake, that instant fatigue is produced before Butler even becomes the new leader. The entire thing was pumped out by some piggy-backed IBM processors – fake crowds, fake skies, fake walls, fake costumes, fake everything. The writing is also terrible, it wouldn’t pass for an old episode of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. In an attempt to supplement that shortcoming, they attempt to inject some tongue in cheek humour, but that too only comes across as strained and awkward. The CGI is also used to mask bouts of violence, Power Rangers style morphin’ happens when fights are about to happen, to appease the censors.
Two final things here, first, they say this movie has a budget of $140,000,000. Is that a fucking joke? You have a bunch of dudes standing around on green screen. I think someone was trying to inflate the film’s sense of worth for promotional ends. Second, much has been said about the ‘white washing’ taking place in this movie, that’s simply reflective of the west’s seismic shift deeper into the ultra left. I’ll put it this way, since white people are over represented by about 20% in Hollywood, why not start with the groups that are over represented by, what, 200%? Who remembers Bill Maher’s gay mafia controversy?